Gus is half Italian Greyhound and half Jack Russell Terrier. He splits his time between the two breeds. When we wake up around 6:30 am, he’s an Italian Greyhound, refusing to come out from under the covers for our walk. He then sleeps in front of the heater or under whatever blanket is handy from 8 am until around 3:00 pm.
As if on cue, at exactly 3:00 pm, when the tae kwon do studio downstairs starts its first, noisy class of the evening, Gus turns into a Jack Russell Terrier. He’s on high alert, barking at every little noise, and chasing all his toys around the house until around 9 pm.
Gus is sweet (and that face!), but he is not an easy dog. He was found wandering the streets of East Sacramento, unfixed. Probably because of that, he is skittish and incredibly reactive on walks. He’s an incessant barker inside the house. Training has helped a lot, as has a constant stream of hot dog and cheese treats, but we still have a very long way to go.
All of us have our baggage. We all have the hurts and the fears that make us timid or reactive or overly vocal. I try to remind myself of this whenever I have to drag a snarling Gus away from another dog who just wants to be friendly, or when he’s barked through my dinner. Sometimes I want to lock him in a dark closet, but I soldier on with training instead because we all need love and positive reinforcement and a sense of security.
I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility for Gus. I chose to bring him into my life. And I’m determined to make a well-behaved dog out of him.